Effects of eccentric training on hand strength in subjects with lateral epicondylalgia: a randomized-controlled trial

Authors

  • J. Söderberg,

    1. Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Physiotherapy, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden
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  • W. J. Grooten,

    1. Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Physiotherapy, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden
    2. Department of Public Health, Occupational and Environmental Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
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  • B. O. Äng

    1. Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Physiotherapy, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden
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Corresponding author: Björn O. Äng, Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Division of Physiotherapy, Karolinska Institutet, Alfred Nobels allé 23 100, SE-141 83 Huddinge, Sweden. Tel: +46 8 524 888 61, Fax: +46 8 524 888 13, E-mail: bjorn.ang@ki.se

Abstract

The main aim of this study was to evaluate the short-term effects of daily eccentric exercises on functional pain-free hand strength in subjects with long-term lateral epicondylalgia. Forty-two subjects with lateral epicondylalgia were randomly assigned either to a 6-week home exercise regimen receiving eccentric training for their wrist extensors and a forearm band or to a control group receiving a forearm band only. The main outcomes were pain-free hand-grip and wrist-extensor strength at mid- and end-intervention follow-ups, 3 and 6 weeks after inclusion, respectively. Secondary outcomes were a change in the proportion of cases with epicondylalgia and ratings of perceived pain (VAS) at follow-up. Thirty-seven (88%) subjects completed both the mid- and the end-intervention follow-up. Exercise members had significantly higher pain-free hand-grip (P=0.025) and wrist-extensor strength (P<0.001) at the end of follow-up, although there was no such effect at mid-intervention. Regression analysis showed a reduction in the proportion of cases in the exercise group at the end of follow-up (P=0.035). However, no between-groups effect emerged for perceived pain. These data suggest that the daily home eccentric exercise regimen is effective in increasing functional pain-free grip strength and reducing cases suffering from lateral epicondylalgia. However, no effect emerged for global perceived pain during the last week.

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